Friday, January 10, 2014

Music Break - Pat Benatar

Rockin' birthday wishes to the amazing Pat Benatar!

"Most chick singers say 'if you hurt me, I'll die'... I say, 'if you hurt me, I'll kick your ass.'"

“I've enjoyed every age I've been, and each has had its own individual merit. Every laugh line, every scar, is a badge I wear to show I've been present, the inner rings of my personal tree trunk that I display proudly for all to see. Nowadays, I don't want a perfect face and body; I want to wear the life I've lived.”

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Music Break - Shirley Bassey

Many happy birthday wishes to the incomparable Dame Shirley Bassey. A seriously kickass, classy lady.

Most people know her from her Bond theme song, Goldfinger, which I love. But her entire repertoire is amazing. A couple of years ago, a friend gave me a copy of her Get the Party Started album, and it's one of my favorites. But today I'd like to go back to one of her early hits, "This Is My Life."

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Quote of the Day

"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try." 
Beverly Sills

So very true.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Music Break - Sister Sledge

Happy birthday to Kathy Sledge, lead singer of Sister Sledge.

This was my jam when I was 10 years old. Actually, it's still my jam.

We Are Family 

We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing

Everyone can see we're together
As we walk on by
And we fly just like birds of a feather
I won't tell no lie
All of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We're giving love in a family dose

Living life is fun and we've just begun
To get our share of this world's delights
High hopes we have for the future
And our goal's in sight
We no we don't get depressed
Here's what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won't go wrong Oh no
This is our family jewel

Kickstart This!

Here's a selection of wonderful Kickstarter projects that deserve some attention!

If you're like me, you think there needs to be more women in SF/F. That's what makes anthologies like Athena's Daughters so important.
Athena’s Daughters is a collection of diverse and engaging science fiction and fantasy stories (clocking in right around 100,000 words with more to come when we reach our stretch goals!) with one unifying theme: all of the protagonists are strong women that exhibit a wide range of physical attributes and abilities. And by strong we don't necessarily mean physical strength (though we have those characters too), but ALL kinds of strength. The strength to stand up for what you know is right, the strength to make an unpopular decision, the strength to be a calming voice in a contentious situation. ALL forms of strength.

I have to be honest and say that I haven't really thought much about the cigar business. I know people who smoke cigars, and while most of them are men, there are a few women who smoke as well. And no, not just Starbuck. Which is why I find this documentary really interesting. Hijas de las Hojas / Daughters of the Leaf will tell the story of women who are working to break into the cigar industry.
There are not many industries that are more male-centric than that of cigars, yet in the recent past there has been a growing subculture of women cigar smokers as well as an influx of women in power positions at many new and old cigar companies. When many nonsmokers think of cigars they think the old the boys network, men in suits sitting in an office filled with smoke. Our goal is to introduce these women who are breaking stereotypes while shattering the glass ceiling on their way.

If you have young girls in your life, you already know that stores are filled with clothing with all kinds of terrible messages. Not to mention the overwhelming pink and purple-ness. Silver Heart Apparel is working to change that.
I was inspired to create a line of t-shirts that women and girls could wear proudly. Something that would enforce the positivity that we want reflected without reinforcing stereotypes or highlighting the lack of modern day role models taking up the limelight. The goal is simply to create a movement, open dialogue, while raising awareness in support of organizations benefiting and uplifting girls and women around the globe.

I think we often forget that the gains women have made in sports have mainly been accomplished in the last 50 years or so. And as far as professional sports go, golf is one of the worst in terms of women's involvement. The Founders wants to tell the stories of the 13 women who broke the professional barrier and their lives and struggles to gain recognition for their ability and love of the game.
In 1950, thirteen women defied convention for the love of a game that most said had no place for them. Their decision to go pro was met not with fanfare, but derision; yet it proved to be a defining moment in women's and sports history. With the creation of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, The Founders courageously broke barriers in a sport long dominated by men and forged a path for future female golfers to be celebrated and taken seriously. This film seeks to honor that legacy by making known the personal and collective sacrifices of The Founders as they worked to ensure women had a lasting place on the green. Sacrifices that, until now, have been left largely untold.

As a sport, skiing has been somewhat more inclusive of women. But while women are quite common on the slopes, whether its the Bunny Hill or the Olympics, they do not get anywhere near the same amount of screen time in the annual ski films. Pretty Faces wants to give kickass women skiers a chance to show off their skills and find inspiration on the big screen.
Although skiing is the focus of the film, we hope to showcase women’s on-hill success--from professional skiers to recreational enthusiasts--to inspire girls of all ages to pursue their dreams, walk the path less traveled, and reach their fullest potential, whatever path they choose.

I'm glad that women's sexuality is getting more positive attention from not feminists/womanists, but also from the general public. How can we be whole people if we are not in touch with our own desires? The Goddess Within promises to explore the aspects of female sexuality that deserve more attention.
The Goddess Within is a debut documentary project by Photographer Jennifer Ilene Perry. It is an in-depth interview on one of the most controversial topics female sexuality. It will explore historical and modern day views on the topic. Will have interviews with women from diverse cultures and sexual preferences. Will shed light on the shame and oppression throughout history and today, as well as the pleasure and ecstasy achieved during the natural and amazing sexual experience.

Finally, here's a great project to inspire you on whatever journey you undertake. Go West, Young Woman is the story of two young women seeking adventure and do some self-discover.
A book of photography & written word: follow the journey of two young women from rural Wisconsin to the Pacific Northwest. After two years of planning and saving, we finally have the opportunity to break free from our small hometown and travel across the country to experience different landscapes, taste ethnic cuisine, & feel the pulse of a new culture. We will not only be living the length of our lives, but the depth as well. Go West, Young Woman will be a great gift for a friend, a daughter, a granddaughter, or anyone in your life who you want to inspire to travel, or it will be great addition to your own library.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Music Break - The Andrews Sisters

The Andrews Sisters were the most popular female singing group in the late-1930s and '40s.

Born in Minnesota, the three Andrews sisters grew up in a house full of music. All three showed great vocal talent, and they genuinely enjoyed singing together, mimicking their favorite trio the Boswell Sisters. They visited the Orpheum Theaters in Minneapolis to see the stars of Vaudeville, and dreamed of their big break.

Maxene Andrews was born on January 3, 1916.

If you'd like to know more about the lives and music of the Andrews Sisters, check out this great BBC documentary: The Story of the Andrews Sisters (part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4).

Eliza Ann Grier

Eliza Ann Grier (1864 - 1902) was the first African American woman licensed to practice medicine in the state of Georgia.

Very little is known about her early life. She was born during the Civil War. Her parents were slaves in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, which made her a slave as well. After emancipation, her family moved to Atlanta, where she grew up and attended school. She originally intended to become a teacher, and attended Fisk University. It took her seven years to graduate because she took every other year off to work picking cotton and working other jobs to pay for her education.

Just before graduating from Fisk, she changed her focus to becoming a physician. She felt that it would be the best way she could serve her community for her to become a doctor instead of a teacher.
When I saw colored women doing all the work in cases of accouchement ... or, childbirth and all the fee going to some white doctor who merely looked on, I asked myself why should I not get the fee myself.
She wrote to the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in December of 1890 inquiring about the cost of tuition and whether there was any work she could do. She was accepted into the school, but still had to work every other year to afford the costs. In 1897 she received her medical degree, and became one of the few African American women physicians in the US. Later that year, she made history as the first African American woman to apply for and receive a medical license in Georgia.
[S]ome of the best white doctors in the city have welcomed me and say that they will give me an even chance in the profession. That is all I ask.
She worked to improve the conditions in the African American community. She struggled to establish and maintain a private practice, and supplemented her income by teaching at the Hospital and Training School for Nurses in Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1901, she attended the Tuskegee Negro Conference. Tragically, she contracted influenza in 1901, and was unable to continue seeing patients during her illness, which caused her financial strain and jeopardized her future. She reached out to help from many prominent African American and feminist leaders, but none were able to help her enough. Sadly, she died in 1902.

More reading:

Georgia Encyclopedia
National Library of Medicine
Black Past